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Jama Masjid Shahi Imam only 'reiterated' Modi-Shah view of new citizenship law

Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Amit Shah
By Sanjeev Sirohi*
“To protest is the democratic right of the people of India. No one can stop us from doing so. However, it is important that it is controlled. Keeping our emotions in control is the most important part”, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari has said, calling upon people to exercise restraint and keep their emotions under control while demonstrating.
Those who are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have the right to protest peacefully, but not the right to hold the nation to ransom, he urged, asking people, including the youth, to not be provoked by nefarious elements. Bukhari explained the difference between CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying these are two different things.
Seeking to allay fears of Muslims he reiterated what Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been saying, that “the CAA is for those people who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014.”
Bukhari said, “The Muslim refugees who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will not get Indian citizenship. It has nothing to do with the Muslims living in India.” He added, “While CAA has become a law, NRC has been only announced. It has not become a law yet.”
Bukhari’s comments are significant. They come in the backdrop of anti-CAA protests which turned violent in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur area. Police used teargas shells to disperse the protesters. Two buses were torched. The police also stopped vehicular movement on the road, which connects Seelampur with Jafrabad, due to the demonstration. The protest in Seelampur took place in the wake of clashes between police and protesters in Jamia Millia Islamia over the citizenship law.
CAA seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have lived in India without documentation. It grants citizenship to non-Muslims of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who fled religious persecution and arrived in India before December 31, 2014. They will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. So far 12 years of residence has been the standard eligibility requirement for naturalisation.
In the aftermath of the partition on the ground of religion, as insisted by Muslim League and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, followed by communal riots that followed, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan signed a treaty, also known as the Delhi Agreement, on security and rights of minorities in their respective countries. 
India gave constitutional guarantees for rights of minorities, and Pakistan had a similar provision in the Objectives Resolution adopted by its Constituent Assembly. Amit Shah claims that India has kept its end of the bargain while Pakistan mocked at it by ensuring that Hindus and Sikhs are either killed or harassed or forcibly converted.
All know how Hindus, Sikhs among others have been forcefully converted in Pakistan, their temples and gurudwaras plundered and vandalized, and this alone explains why their population stands hugely decimated.
Why are US, UK and European countries and the United Nations lecturing India on human rights and secularism, among other things? They never said anything on this, nor did they take any step to ensure that no terror training camps are set up in Pakistan. Worse, US directly funded terror groups, as acknowledged recently by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, admitting that 40,000 terrorists were active.
Amit Shah said that India was wrongly partitioned by Congress on the flimsy basis of religion. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan told Jawaharlal Nehru, “Nehru what have you done? You have made me a foreigner in my own country by agreeing to the partition of India on the ground of religion! Should I feel proud of it?”
Muslims must be assured they will to be affected. Centre has said persecuted Muslims could be allowed in if their bona fide claims are established
Why Congress buckled for partition when Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Hasrat Mohani and many other Muslim Congress leaders didn’t want the partition of India on the ground of religion? Why were the disastrous consequences of partition not thought out?
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are all Muslim countries where Islamic law prevails and where people belonging to other religions have been constantly exterminated, tortured and humiliated to most degrading extent. Even the Buddha’s statues were not spared in Afghanistan.
So, where will the minorities in these countries go if not to India, which was their mother country even before Pakistan and Bangladesh were formed?
The Congress and other parties are opposing CAA on the ground that it leaves out Muslims and violates Article 14 which guarantees equality. They feel very strongly that Shias are persecuted in Pakistan and they too must be allowed to come in India.
Indeed, Sunni terror groups which have got direct patronage from Pakistani Army and ISI keep attacking Shia shrines and keep killing them also in huge numbers in Pakistan as we keep reading also time and again! This is the biggest slap on the face of Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was himself a Shia and who was the founding father of Pakistan.
However, if Shias are compelled to take refuge in India, Pakistan must be also integrated with India and all political parties must acknowledge that partition on the basis of religion should not have been allowed to happen in 1947.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused to stay CAA, and has issued a notice to the Centre on a clutch of 59 petitions challenging the amendments and said it would hear the matter on January 22. Also, a Bench of Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde, and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant have instructed Attorney General KK Venugopal to ask the government to publicise the provisions of the Act through the media to remove confusion.
Muslims must be assured that they are not going to be affected. The Centre has said that Muslims who are persecuted could be allowed in India once their bona fide claims are established, as we saw in case of famous singer Adnan Sami.
Pakistan is miffed at this. Does Pakistan want that Muslims from Pakistan to settle down in India as Pakistan does not offer them much opportunities, and minority groups like Shias, Ahmadiyas among others are unwanted?
Partition cannot be undone. But certainly those who have suffered from it must be provided maximum relief.
---
Advocate, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

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